Sanju Samson delivers Rajasthan best with the bat
On his captaincy debut with Rajasthan, Sanju Samson smashed a scintillating ton against Punjab at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday but ended up on the losing side in a thriller.
Sanju Samson became the third Rajasthan batsman to score two centuries in the Indian T20 League. Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson too had hit two hundreds each. A total of five batsmen have recorded a century for the team so far.
It was the third Indian T20 League career century for Sanju Samson. He scored one for Delhi in 2019.
Sanju Samson joins Bangalore talisman AB de Villiers in the list with three centuries to their name. Interestingly, Chris Gayle has scored the most number of hundreds (6) in the history of the tournament.
Bangalore captain Virat Kohli is in the second position, having hit five centuries in the league.
Samson scored 119 off just 63 balls, which is the third highest individual score by any wicket-keeper batsman in the history of the Indian T20 League. Only Punjab captain KL Rahul (132) and Delhi skipper Rishabh Pant (128) are the two wicket-keeper batsmen, who have registered higher individual scores in the high-profile league.
Samson walked in once Ben Stokes departed in the third ball of the chase and saw his side tottering at 70/3 in the eighth over. He then forged a 53-run partnership with Shivam Dube and put on 52 runs with Riyan Parag steering his team towards the steep target of 222.
He raised his fifty with a four in 33 balls, which meant he smashed 66 in the next 30 balls.
“I think the second part of the innings was the best I ever played, took my time and respected the bowlers,” Samson said. “I took the singles and got into a rhythm to play my shots. I enjoy my shots but I come back to the present after I play those shots.
“It automatically happens, when I focus on my skills and watch the ball and react. Sometimes I lose my wicket also, so I just play the same way. It's about trusting my processes to be honest.” he added.
However, Sanju Samson’s ton went in vain as Punjab defeated Rajasthan by 4 runs as he holed out in the deep on the final ball of the innings as he attempted to go for what would have been a match-winning six.
“I don't have words to tell, very close game, came close but unfortunately.. I don't think I could have done anything more,” Sanju Samson said after his innings. “I timed it well, but unfortunately couldn't clear the man in the deep.
“It's all part of the game… we thought the wicket was getting better and we could chase the target down.”
Nevertheless, he had recorded the highest score by an individual batsman for Rajasthan and the highest by a batsman on debut as captain.
Rajasthan century list in Indian T20 League
100 (37), Yusuf Pathan vs Mumbai, 2010
103* (60), Ajinkya Rahane vs Bangalore, 2012
101 (58), Shane Watson vs Chennai, 2013
104* (59), Shane Watson vs Kolkata, 2015
102* (55), Sanju Samson vs Hyderabad, 2019
105* (63), Ajinkya Rahane vs Delhi, 2019
107* (60), Ben Stokes vs Mumbai, 2020
119 (63), Sanju Samson vs Punjab, 2021
Featured photo: IPL/BCCI